At the 2015 Open Government Conference, the Office of the Attorney General announced a new previous determination program in order to encourage prompt release of information and promote governmental efficiency. In calendar year 2013, the Office of the Attorney General issued almost 5,700 letter rulings that were not novel or complex and were based solely on section 552.108(a)(1) of the Government Code. In 2014, the Office of the Attorney General issued over 6,400 letter rulings of the same kind. Last year, the Office of the Attorney General issued over 7,600 letter rulings of that type.
Under the new previous determination program, the Office of the Attorney General will consider issuing governmental bodies a 552.108(a)(1) Previous Determination (“108 PD”) which will allow a governmental body to withhold some law enforcement records related to pending criminal cases without needing to request a ruling from this office, so long as it complies with the specific requirements of the 108 PD, including the requirement that at least basic information be released within five business days of receiving the request. Below is a brief summary of the 108 PD requirements, followed by links to additional resources for governmental bodies and requestors.
Pursuant to the 108 PD, records may be withheld under section 552.108(a)(1) of the Government Code in the following circumstances:
- The governmental body makes a good faith determination that the information at issue relates to the detection, investigation, or prosecution of crime;
- The release of such information would interfere with the detection, investigation or prosecution of crime;
- The governmental body will release at least the basic information from the information at issue (it may release more);
- The governmental body will release such information within five business days of receiving the request;
- The governmental body will provide the requestor with the required notice form, which describes the requestor’s rights and the types of information withheld; AND
- The governmental body has not previously received a request for the same information from the same requestor after the GB has provided the requestor with the information described above.
If you have questions regarding this type of previous determination, you may call the Open Government Hotline toll free at (877) 673-6839 (877-OPENTEX).